RS Aero Europeans 2022

I took part in the RS Aero Europeans this Summer, a five-day event held at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), the venue for sailing during the 2012 Olympics. This event was part of the epic RS Games.

I was training up to this one all year, and it was an amazing week with five days of fantastic racing. I learned so much, not just from the racing but from the chats off the water, and fellow sailors offering advice and tips.

There’s a good write-up in Yachts and Yachting and some footage on Youtube (RS Games days 12-16). Here are some of my pictures.

The 7s coming back on day four.

There’s something special about sailing in Weymouth and seeing those rings. The whole place had the most amazing atmosphere.

2012 Laser Radial Gold medalist Xu Lijia sailed an RS Aero 5 and gave a Q & A session one day on downwind sailing, you could hear a pin drop as she talked.

Days one to three, were pretty windy (F5-6). This was day two, racing started at 11am.

2021 Sailing in Pictures

2021 was still a COVID year and things didn’t get going till May. It was impressive how racing events were run within the safety guidelines, and how things like briefings were moved async and online over video and, comms was enhanced with channels like WhatsApp.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all the clubs who put on events, including my own in Swanage, and the RS Aero class for being so friendly and welcoming. It’s a great fun boat and a great class.

First Home Race of the Year April

This was a special one. We’d been ‘locked down’ in the months before and I think everyone just wanted to get out and start feeling that things were normal again.

Lymington RS Open May

My second ever open and with some pretty windy weather and big chop in the solent, it was a blast. Seeing the front of the boat submerge and nearly pitchpole at one point was memorable.

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy Aero Two Day Open – May

It was really exciting to race at the sailing location of the 2012 Olympics. A two day event and the best bit was getting out of the harbour. We had great weather and I loved the summer feeling. Definitely a benchmark venue.

Lee on Solent Aero Open – June

A light wind day.

Swanage Regatta – August (home waters)

A home mixed handicap two day regatta with some fruity conditions, F5 gusting 7 on one day.

August Windsurfing

I had a mast problem (top piece jammed hard onto the base of brand new 5 stub) for some weeks in August, and so switched to windsurfing. We got the family doing a bit too. It was fantastic and I’m definitely going to be getting some faster kit and doing it more in 2022.

Junior Training April – July

I was the lead instructor for the Bronzes this year and thanks to a terrific team we got 22 kids started with sailing.

Ringwood Aero Open Sept

First sail on a lake and brilliant fun.

Paignton Single Hander Two Day Open November

Another two-day event, challenging light winds conditions. I do like Paignton’s waters.

Swanage Bay – Regular Sailing December

If the weather allows it, I get out at least once a week at all times of the year.

Photo Gill Richards

Another 2021 highlight

A real highlight of 2021 was watching the sailing at the Tokyo Olympics and enjoying seeing Team GB in action. I was on vacation at the time, got up early and soaked it all up.

Plans for 2022

I have a ton of things to improve with my sailing and fitness/strength and can’t wait for the weather to allow me out again to start training. Next year I want to do more racing, a few more events and improve my results and consistency at home and away.

The main event will probably be the RS Aero nationals or the RS Games. Multi-day events are really hard work and I’ll need to work up to them.

And… do as much sailing, SUPing, kayaking, swimming and windsurfing with the family as possible. Sounds like a plan. 🙂

August 2021

They say that fair weather never made a good sailor, and August has seen some good breezy races providing some good challenges and crazy fun.

The Swanage Sailing Club Regatta took place earlier this month which featured two days of high winds. There’s a nice write up here in Yachts and Yachting.

These were among the strongest conditions I’ve sailed in with force seven gusts and it was definitely full on.

I tried the Aero 5 sail (below) and it was manageable. The hard bit being very gusty, with a course set inshore and messy offshore wind over the town, was not being able to hike consistently. With the 5 sail there’ll be technique to improve, e.g. to counter the tippiness in lulls such as not over feathering.

I’m in 3328 enjoying the gust. Photo by Adrian Whaley.

Other than sailing, I’ve done loads of windsurfing the last weeks which works out a bunch of other muscles, and cardio at home. The next sailing event is in two weeks.

July 2021 Sailing and SUPing

I had a racing pause for two weeks, and have been enjoying instructing on Saturdays at our local club. We’ve been really lucky with light winds which make for good conditions for all the new children.

And I’ve had some cracking solo sails in the bay practising. I’m doing a bit less training in the boat but mixing it with focused stuff on land such as mobility work, legs and cardio.

We also got a stand up paddleboard (SUP) which is AWESOME, and I now no longer wish only for windy days. No or too little wind make for great SUP conditions.

There’s also a routine with swimming in the sea daily and strangely, I think I’m becoming addicted to the cold water. It has to be good for us right(?!).

12th June Sail

I had a play in the bay yesterday afternoon, there was sun and a bit of breeze. I used the Garmin Virb action cam and remembering to turn on GPS, got some data. Not seen here but I’m using it for some self coaching, trying out different things to see how speed is affected.

Lymington RS Aero Open

I sailed at my first RS Aero open at Lymington on on May 15th 2021. There’s a good write up in Yachts and Yachting.

I think they were the windiest conditions I’ve sailed in which coupled with wind over tide made for challenging and exciting conditions. Many things learned, more areas to work on and a super fun day.

Can’t wait for the next event which starts tomorrow at Weymouth. Grin!